Ex Cathedra Debate Windsor v. Rosenthal

Ex Cathedra Debate

Scott Windsor

Phase 2b - Rebuttal

Well first of all, my opponent has misread me!  He “responds” to a statement I did not make!  Rosenthal opens his rebuttal (Phase 2b) stating:  I see that you have characterized the King James Version as a modernist version with a lesser rendering of Luke 1:28.  I never said the KJV was a “modernist version!”  What I did say is that some modernist Catholic versions have used this lesser rendering of Luke 1:28, which is a disservice to any Christian reading them.  The saddest part of Rosenthal’s response is that which version of Scripture I prefer and/or why I prefer it is not a subject of this debate!  Realizing that my opponent specified he would be using the KJV and/or the NKJV, is why I made the comment of the lesser rendering of the Greek words and provided the Greek words in question here.   He spends more than half of his “rebuttal” phase defending the KJV (548 of 958 words) which, again, is not the subject of this debate, and doesn’t even touch the heart of my argument on this point (the use of kecharitomene and it’s root word of charitoo, meaning grace).  In essence, Rosenthal wasted more than half his rebuttal.  

Now, in all that diversion, he did touch upon the point which is really related to what I was saying and more on-topic for this debate.  In the last sentence of that section he said:  A version older than Douay also renders the phrase in Luke 1:28 as "highly favored," which is what the original Greek meant. The original Greek actually meant "highly favored," and not "full of grace."  So I will defend that a bit more.

Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I will quote some research done by fellow Catholic apologist, Phil Vaz [qtd from: http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a116.htm]:

In other words, the perfect tense in Greek is a past tense with a special meaning: it is used to refer to a past action which has effects felt in the present. So, here's what some modern, English-speaking scholars tell us "Kecharitomene" denotes, based purely on the definition of the word and its grammatical usage:

" 'Highly favoured' (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians 1:6 . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena [full of grace] "is right, if it means 'full of grace which thou hast received'; wrong, if it means 'full of grace which thou hast to bestow' " (A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, p. 14)

"It is permissible, on Greek grammatical and linguistic grounds, to paraphrase kecharitomene as completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace." (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament).

However, Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of "charitoo." It uses "kecharitomene," while Ephesians 1:6 uses "echaritosen," which is a different form of the verb "charitoo." Echaritosen means "he graced" (or bestowed grace). Echaritosen signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p. 166). Whereas, Kecharitomene, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a permanent result. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar [Harvard Univ Press, 1968], p. 108-109, sec 1852:b; also Blass and DeBrunner, p. 175).

Moving along, Rosenthal said: I see also that you argue that grace is something other than favor. Grace, despite your definition, remains God's favor, enjoyed by sinful; people. Those who have sinned enjoy God's grace. Therefore, to say that Mary is full of grace does not in any sense define Mary as sinless.  Yes, “grace” means something much more than merely “favored.”  As the above citations from Mr. Vaz’ article indicate.  There are also types of grace, and the type we’re discussing here is “sanctifying grace” - that grace which saves the soul.  The Blessed Virgin was not merely “favored” - but was declared “full of grace” in an act which preceded the Annunciation (which, coincidentally happens to be the feast day upon which I am writing this response, March 25th) and was not only preceded by this event, but was fully and perfectly completed.  This is completely consistent with the Catholic theology of the Immaculate Conception!

Rosenthal said: Since the penalty for sin is death, God would never require any sinless person to pay the penalty, except in the one case of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world, which Mary did not do although it is NOT correct to say that God required Jesus to die for the world, but only that Jesus agreed with God and collaborated in the act). Adam would not have died, if he had not sinned. Neither would anyone else. It is not up to you or I to determine whom God would require to pay the penalty for sin, but God has already made it known in the scriptures, so that speculation is unnecessary.  I repeat, the Blessed Virgin, being more blessed than any other woman before or after her, while she did not inherit the stain of Original Sin, she did inherit the penalty and died prior to her Bodily Assumption (which is the only other definitive use of ex cathedra by a pope!).  I can see where you’re attempting to use Protestant theology to brand Catholic theology as inconsistent with Scripture here - but keep in mind, according to Catholic theology, since she did inherit the penalty of Original Sin, she too was in need of a Savior and Redeemer which is found in her Son, Jesus Christ.  Catholic theology is not inconsistent with Scripture here, only your non-Catholic interpretation of Catholic theology.  What you are arguing is not what Catholics believe.

Another fact Mr. Rosenthal should keep in mind, prior to the defining of the doctrine one may be able to find “faithful Catholics” who disagree.  If the doctrine has not yet been defined then prior to that time faithful Catholics are not bound to accept it as de fide/dogma.  He points to St. Augustine and quotes him - but even that quote does not deny the doctrine!  Yes, Jesus alone did not experience the corruption of Original Sin - and that is because the Blessed Virgin was preserved from the stain of Original Sin.  Mary, on the other hand, was born of Sts. Anna and Joachim - and while she was preserved from the stain of Original Sin, she did experience it and may well have inherited the penalty of it, and it is my position that she did inherit the penalty.  

To counter Rosenthal’s citation of St. Augustine, allow me to present a quote prior to, one contemporary with and another just after him:

From the fourth century, the Aramaic Fathers, such as Ephrem, clearly described the Immaculate Conception. Ephrem in his Carmina Nisibine proclaims

"There is in you, Lord, no stain, nor any spot in your mother. You Jesus and your mother are the only ones who are beautiful in all aspects. Because in you, O Lord, there is no deformation, and in your mother, there is no stain."

After the Council of Ephesus (431) where Mary was declared the Mother of God, Saint Proclus (466), the Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote that God made Mary without stain for himself.

[qtd. on: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2403385/posts]

Mr. Rosenthal still has not provided us with a clear example of an ex cathedra statement being contradictory to Scripture.

Word Count: 1031 (not counting words in red, which are quotes of Mr. Rosenthal included for the reader’s convenience to not have to go back to his response to read them).

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